For a Dreamer

"When I dream, on my own
I'm alone but, I ain't lonely
For a dreamer night's the only time of day"
- "Sante Fe", Newsies

This drawing is base on memories of the house I grew up in. I moved my bed so I could sit up and look out the window at the stars whenever I wanted. 

Of course you can't see the stars as brilliantly in the city. So one of my favorite memories is of when I was really little and my parents would wake me and my sister up in the middle of the night and drive us out into the country to look up at the stars, usually when something special like a comet was going to be visible. 

Maybe that's why I love the stars. Maybe because they remind me of how small I am and how big God is. But a few years ago I was out deep in the country again and the stars were so stunning that, even though I was in a really rough patch between college graduation and gainful employment, everything felt right. The stars couldn't be so beautiful for nothing. And it was enough just to stand there and be in awe.


They Call Me Adventure

I love adventure stories. Torture, revenge, giants, monsters,chases, escapes, miracles, true love. And of course I like to think that in the protagonist's place I would be just as butt-kickingly awesome.

The truth is, probably I'd be more like blondie here.
But with less poise.

Bugs gross me out. 
I'm scared of heights. 
I have no upper body strength to speak of. And no skills that would suddenly come in handy were I to be thrust into the middle of a secret government conspiracy.

I want to be capable, independent Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark, but I'd honestly be whining Wilhelmina in The Temple of Doom. Screaming and crying my way through the entire story with even small children becoming annoyed at my incompetence. 

C'est la vie. That's why I'm an artist.



Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes

Even when I was a kid, people - sometimes strangers - would tell me that I ought to draw children's book illustrations. And I wholeheartedly agreed.

When I was 8 I wrote and illustrated a book for my youngest sister. My mom helped me make a hard cover for it out of cardboard and cloth and she stitched in the binding.
Encouraged, I illustrated a bunch more, but those had less impressive staple binding and copy-paper covers.

At the age of 12 I wrote and illustrated another book and submitted it as a 4-H art project at the county fair. I got a blue ribbon and went to the state fair where the judges looked at me as if I had gotten lost.

It's been a long time coming, but I'm proud to present my first ever, full color children's book. It's not technically mine - it's the Amish couple's who published it. I'm just sort of the in-house illustrator. But it's all public domain nursery rhymes and my illustrations, so it feels like mine.

It's 43 pages long, hardcover and is printed on glossy paper with gorgeous, full-bleed color.

You can pick it up in Amish shops in Northern Indiana and you want to order it drop me a line on etsy or facebook  or twitter and I'll get you the contact info for ordering your own copy.

I've got little previews of the illustrations inside here, here and here.


Christmas Time Is Here

I'm not a super festive person. Left to my own devices I don't really decorate for Christmas and of course any kind of seasonal clothing is out of the question. I have no explanation as to why, it's just how I am. But I do enjoy that other people are festive. I love the lights, when they're done tastefully - which is apparently not going to happen in my neighborhood this year. I love the shop displays. And I love carolers. They're so cute and picturesque.  So feel free to print out this coloring sheet for the you or the kiddos to color (you know you want to) . Please don't use it for any other purpose, personal or commercial. It is for coloring only.


Card Give Away

I'm doing a 2-card giveaway over at Heavenly Savings.
There are all kinds of ways to enter and two people will get to choose
the card they desire and have it shipped off to them for free. Check it out!

I also have a new ooak card, Winter Sunshine, perfect for holiday correspondance or for those notes you know you won't get around to till well after new-year's but still while there's snow on the ground.
This is me every year. I never finish writing them till sometime in January
and they don't get send out till it's pushing March.  Some how I never have stamps.

Have a great Thanksgiving everybody :)



A big thank-you to The Curious Pug and to Ittybit Delights for featuring my shop on their blogs!
I write my answers fresh for each interview, so if you're interested in that kind of thing, they're both worth reading.

Also, blog readers can get 20% off a set of 10 Christmas cards through the end of the year, just convo me on etsy, tell me you saw this post and which cards you want (they can be all the same or you can mix and match) so I can make you a reserved listing. Regularly $30, but at 20% off only $24!
(plus shipping & handling, $2 state side, $4.50 everywhere else) 


Excuses Excuses

 When I was a kid I have a book called "Excuses, Excuses" and it had all kinds of ridiculous excuses a kid might use to get out of chores. Like if you want to get out of cleaning your room you could make a bear print stamp and stamp the prints all over the house, so then you'd tell your mom you can't clean your room because you have to track down a bear. What? you think your mom wants a bear loose in the house? You'd totally get out of it.

But most people use their excuses differently.

There are excuses for things you don't want to do,

"It's a bummer, but I can't! I totally would, but I have so much to do at home! I just can't tear myself away!" - from The Sims 3.

"I can't, because I'm sick, coughcough." - of helping you with your home projects.

And excuses for things you forgot to do,

"I couldn't because I ran into this lady who lost her dog and she was so heartbroken that I just had to help her find fifi and it took the whole afternoon!" - or two minutes of it.

Or for things you want to do,

"I'm sorry, I have to attend this ball game, it's really important to my dad and he's dying." - at some point. 

And for things you shouldn't do,
"Well you see officer..." Yeah, I bet you have enough practice with that one.

Yesterday I dealt with a lady who had a huge list of excuses.
I don't think she was lying either, she had a lot going on.
Probably last month was a bad month.
But the more excuses she gave me, the angrier I got!
Because the way she said it, it was like it was my fault her month was bad. And I should have known it was bad.
Probably she felt judged by my frustration with her, but I tell you nothing makes me so inclined as to go easy on someone as a big old, "I'm Sorry!"

"I'm so sorry I murdered that man, I just didn't like him!"
"Oh honey, don't worry, probably no one else did either! Plus he had ugly hair."
"It's a toupee."
"Well there you go."

The truth is that before her irate excuses I was feeling bad because I'd voiced my frustration, but when I listened to how it was all me being inconsiderate of the bad month I didn't know about - shazaam!  No more sorry. It's magic!

What excuses make you more angry instead of less?


Silent Songbird

I have a condition called Fibyomyalgia. Or Myofascial Pain Syndrome. Or both. My doctors didn't agree and now I don't have health insurance so it's a little unclear.

The main thing is, my muscles hurt.

I'm not a person that this is a big deal for.
Some people have such severe pain that they can't work, it's hard to sleep, and even small household chores can wipe them out for the day. I hold down a full time job, keep my apartment respectable, sell my personal art on the side, volunteer weekly, and have a decent social life.

But every now and again it becomes problematic.

It isn't the biggest problem I've had, but this past week I've had a bit of a pain in my jaw. At first I thought my teeth hurt and I had cavities again and, I won't lie, I was pretty upset. But as I considered it more I realized that my teeth were not bothered by crunching up hard foods, drinking ice-water, or eating sweets - all cavity related issues that popped up last time.

I came to realize that actually my jaw didn't hurt at all in the early morning (like it might if I were grinding my teeth at night) or in the late evening (when, this week, I've been home alone).

Kids, my mouth has been hurting whenever I've been singing! I tend to sing when I'm in the car or the tv is off in my apartment (though I try to not, because I figure my neighbors have never done anything to deserve that)
So I decided to quit.  It's not like I sing well, so what's the big deal?

Oh. Apparently I love to sing. I catch myself trying to sing all the time. I hear the chorus of a song I love and I just want to belt it out. It's been all of two days since I had this revelation and I'm going nuts!


To Write Love On Her Arms

 I was told on an etsy thread that this Friday is To Write Love On Her Arms day (I kind of don't think it is officially since there's nothing on the official TWLOHA site for Friday except a thing at Remuda Ranch) and it seemed like a good theme for some art work.  Clearly I'm still going ultra literal. I'm no good with metaphor.

I've had a lot of friends who have struggled with depression and various addictions. I've struggled with depression myself. Years ago when I first saw a To Write Love On Her Arms t-shirt, I knew immediately, without explanation, what it was about.
Of course I went online to find out more - and at that point there was mostly just a story online about the girl, Renee, who they started To Write Love On Her Arms for - and it was kind of confusing to figure out what TWLOHA was doing exactly. But they've grown since then and I can't help but be impressed with their mission to bring hope to people who can't see any.

And I think that hope grows with the awareness they've raised. One of the things I remember about being a teenager is how even kids who weren't coming from particularly bad situations could struggle with depression. It affects all kinds of people, but if we never talk about it it's just that much harder to deal with.

Though this post is written in support of TWLOHA this blog is not associated with TWLOHA in any way.


Needle in a...

 Sometimes I just have to draw something goofy to break myself out of a rut. When I was a kid I used to draw funny or overly literal illustrations for common sayings (like, a bunch of butterflies chatting at a party - social butterflies), but I decided to just go literal for "Needle in a Haystack"

I did think of another possible illustration for it - have you ever had a Haystack Supper? Around here they serve "haystacks" for fundraisers mostly - it' a bunch of food out in bowls and you pile what you want onto your plate in layers.

We had it at our last office lunch - there were crackers, lettuce, ground beef, nacho cheese, Doritos, pineapple chunks, diced peppers, tomatoes and probably more.

I didn't have all of that mixed together - but other people did.

Mmmmm. Tasty.


Color Thankfully

Another coloring page, this one is Thanksgiving themed. I know after a long day of cooking my mom always expected us kids to help set the table and what-not. Feel free to print out for your kids to color, but you may not alter, redistribute, or profit from this image in any way. This image is for coloring purposes only.


Latte Art

I haven't had my art on display much since college. Every year my church holds an Art Gala and some of my pieces are up at the office, but that's pretty much it.

So, I'm really excited that my art will be up for the entire month of November at Latte Art in Warsaw, IN.
I haven't seen it up yet, but here are a couple pictures of some of my framed art sitting in my living room.

I know most of my readers aren't from the area, but if you happen to be in Northern Indiana you should stop on by! The coffee's great and they make a point of having new goodies all the time.


Night Light

Now available as an 8x8 print or a 5x5 on request!  I personally love this one, the candle, the wind, the night. Some of my favorite elements of life, so I'm pleased to have incorporated them into a drawing.



It's been a few years since I've had to use a Laundromat. Even since I've moved into an apartment without a washer & dryer I've been doing my laundry at the house of a generous friend. But my friend is out of town & someone I don't know is house-sitting.  I could conceivably waltz in there and do my laundry anyway... but I don't know that I'm up for that much awkward.

Fortunately there's a laundromat not far from my home. A few years ago I was driving 30 minutes to do my laundry. I lived in an apartment with no washer/dryer hookup. The landlord conveniently owned a laundromat across the street. There no storage space either and the landlord conveniently owned a u-store-it across the street. These things gave me pause, but the bigger issue was that the dryers in the landlord-owned laundromat burnt people's clothes. Not mine, but my roommate's clothing came back visibly singed. Next closest laundromat? Two towns away. Oh Indiana.

The laundromat is over-priced and wildly inconvenient, even when it's nearby. You can't leave and generally, if you're me, you can't talk to anyone because everyone else is speaking Spanish. Unlesss of course I need to tell anyone, "the princess is crying in the bathroom."  Rosetta Stone = Fail. But, one thing about the laundromat is that it's actually a decent place to sketch, because what else are you going to do?

I have never witnessed kids racing in the laundry carts, though there are usually a few of them playing hide'n-go-seek or tag. But if you were a kid, wouldn't you want to play in the laundry carts? My family never did laundry at the laundromat, but I feel fairly certain that my sisters and I would have tried this.


New Cards

I have a new facebook fan page - come check it out! I'm not doing much with it yet, but in the future I hope to have special deals for facebook fans and of course you'll get all the previews first.

I had a return customer make a request and this is the card I drew up for her.
Printed versions of this card can be made by request.

This card is for sale in my shop, a bit different drawing style than my usual, but it's been popular in the past as well, so I thought it was time to offer some more in that style.


Butterfly Princess

Apparently I've never listed this to my shop before, even though it's a print I designed quite some time ago and presented at other venues. I have several friends who get excited about princesses and formal wear so I drew this especially for them.



Whoa! It's been a long time since I've posted. I guess I've just been busy...playing Tropico?

Ok, so I've been a bum for a while. But I've got some of my recent art pieces available to buy in the shop
Acceptable Addiction - 5x5 Print
Fire & Night - 8x10 Print
God is Bigger Than You Think - 8x10 Print

Plus my brand new, hand-drawn card available and hopefully another later today!


Winter's Coming!

I am not a fan of winter. I do not like cold or snow. But I do like winter scenes. I love drawing coats, boots and scarves. I've drawn a number of  winter cards - not from an aversion to Christmas,  but because I am always sending my cards out late and I like having cards that are appropriate from November to March.

So with winter coming I have two thoughts.

1. You should order your cards now and be ready. I only offer them in singles in the shop, but you can convo me and ask for a custom set.

2. What should this year's card be? Hitherto I mostly have girls out in the snow, which is lovely, but do you have any favorite winter/holiday activities you think would be fun to send on a card? I'd love to hear about them and maybe get some inspiration!


Color October

An October coloring page - a cute pair of kids trick-or-treating. Feel free to print out for your kids to color, but you may not alter, redistribute, or profit from this image in any way. This image is for coloring purposes only.


Hand Drawn Cards

The other night I decided to draw and color some cards. I don't break out the colored pencils all that often because I prefer the look of the computer generated stuff, but of course if I want a card for a friend or family member this is how it goes because it takes waaaay too long to color it on the computer, get it formatted and get it printed. Mostly it's the printing that takes forever. 

The first card was drawn while I was watching "Glee" the other night. So it is BASED on Rachel, but the colors are entirely different. Lighter hair and eyes, totally different colored clothes. Just because I like to put my own twist on things. Also, because I wanted to sell this card and I didn't want be making a "Rachel from Glee" card. I just liked her sweater.


The next card is based on nothing but my love of etsy. If you look around you'll find similar items all over the place. Those hair pins you know you've seen a hundred times, but the earrings and necklace are fairly ubiquitous as well. The top and the skirt are just cute. To be honest. If you browse my favorites on etsy you'll notice that I have a lot of items that show up on my girls.


Acceptable Addictions

"They're going to hate us, in the beginning, but we'll get 'em in the end. And do you know why?

Because we'll sell them cheap books and legal, addictive stimulants."
 - Tom Hanks as Joe Fox, You've Got Mail   

I have an addiction to reading and coffee. I'll take them individually, but nothing beats the two together. My former roommate and I have a near weekly tradition of going to Barne's & Noble, ordering our favorite drink and reading for as long as our schedules will let us. Or until the shop closes. 

I can also be found most Sundays nursing a double vanilla chai with ghirardelli chocolate and a favorite novel at a local coffee house.

Which is probably why so many of my doodles involve girls sipping mugs of coffee while they enjoy a book.



I have an obsession with the work of Patricia McKillip. I was first introduced to her books by a former roommate who encouraged me to read In the Forest of Serre, when I'd run out of Robin McKinley books to devour. I read it in a couple days and was hooked. McKillip has a talent for creating original folk lore, fairy tales that have no roots in our earth's history. It's all vividly detailed, moving, and unexpected.
And there's SO much of it. Twenty-seven novels from 1973 - 2008 and I'm delighted to have only scratched the surface of that collection.

I'm currently almost done with The Shadow of Ombria and as captivated as I am, I had to take time out to draw Lydea, with the late prince's rings tied up in her fiery hair.


In Progress - 2

So I saved the previous version of this as a jpg to post online and then I went back and saw that I hadn't saved the photoshop file, just the flattened file. Which would normally mean that I would have to start all over, but I thought I'd experament a little with this one and see what I could do.

It's not too bad, although it did require messing  around with the blending modes more than usual and if I continue to work on it this way I'll have to be much more careful about coloring inside the lines. The way I usually layer means that each part of the drawing has opaque bottom layer that keeps the objects below it from showing through, but since I'm coloring over the line art instead of underneath, that's not possible.

Blog Feature!

The nice folks over at the senioritis blog ran
a feature on me today, check it out!

This design is off the student handbook I designed for a local school last year.



I'm deathly afraid of skin cancer, so tanning beds are not my thing. On the other hand, neither is snow-white skin - especially when it's just my legs. Normally this doesn't matter because I wear pants year round (hence the whiteness), but on the rare occasion that I don a skirt - particularly a short one...well.

So I bought some bronzer, hoping to make my legs glow a bit less. It was "instant", but not. So it wasn't until the next morning, the day of my close friend's wedding rehearsal that my legs matched the rest of me. Except of course the bits where I had somehow gotten dabs of bronzer on my already tan arms.

I spent half the day at the office panicking and looking up how to take bronzer off skin. Scrubbing, of course, I had tried. Nothing happened.

So after work I bought lemon juice and used cotton balls to scrub it onto my skin. It worked a bit, but finally I resorted to what some people on the internet had said would "take the bronzer right off" and others had warned would have a bad reaction with skin - hydrogen peroxide. Well I know it irritates your skin and shouldn't be used in cuts because it can hinder healing, but on the other hand my mom used to use it on us all the time so how bad could it be?

Yeah, I know, you're thinking I got a rash or took off the top layer of my skin or something, but really it went pretty well. It didn't take the bronzer "right off" but it did fade it alot, except for a couple tiny splotches which refuse to fade. It was at least enough to keep anyone from commenting on it.


No, Seriously

This happened. Aside from the pink hair.

I mean, two or three years ago, so it's not as if I still cringe at the idea of taking my car in anywhere to get a tire patched.

And I'm not the confrontational type, so I certainly didn't tell the owner of the shop that I would never come back for any reason at all and would pay to have my car towed to the next town before doing business with them again.

Nor did I announce such a resolve to my entire office this week when I asked where I could go to get a patch on my tire.

Fortunately my coworkers did know of another place and they were dandy. Didn't do it for free like my old tire place, but then again my old tire place didn't tell me my tires were worn out when I asked them about it.
Which is why they're the old place.

No bitterness though.

Disclaimer: the name of the offending tire place is not "Miller Tire", my ire stops just short of running down the company on the web. If you live near a "Miller Tire" I'm sure they're dandy.



I've got twitter now if anyone's interested in following. I should probably do some kind of give-away to force people to follow me ;)


In Progress

I'd planned on posting a sketch I did last night of Brook Shields in truly weird movie called Wanda Nevada, but I can't find it! So this is just a little work in progress. I love pieces when they're half finished. There's just such a great feel to them. Recently Target had a bunch of cups and plates with preliminary sketches from Disney films on them. I loved them. The pencil lines and the placement marks, I love it before it's all finalized and complete.

Of course what I've posted is already ink over and the pencil lines erased,  I have yet to figure out how to scan in my pencil pieces and make it dark enough to show up without ruining the pencil-y quality of the work. If anyone knows how, let me know!


Summer Beauty

This isn't anything new, if you've visited my store during the summer at all you saw this print go up, but it's one of my favorites and I haven't posted anything on here for a while. I'm pretty proud of her skin, I can get white skin right, no problem, but darker colors often end up unrealistic for me, so this I felt looked pretty good.

I'm also completely in love with the color pallet I used. I'll be honest, I used colour lovers to pick it out, I usually do my own color choices, but I was just not feeling inspired that day and colour lovers came through for me!


Blue Girl

Nothing fancy, just killing time. Her clothes & hair are all the same shade of blue layered over and over in different blending modes. With her freckles and not-so-natural hair she reminds me of the strawberry shortcake or cherry merry muffin


The Others

Some artists tell me they don't buy other artist's art, because they make their own.

I will never understand this.

I love other artist's art, they tell different stories and see them through different eyes.

So these are some of my favorite others.

Hailing from France Matilou ( Anne Cresci ) sells gorgeous prints of lovely girls in fanciful places.
You can also check out her blog and her flickr feed.

Hillary Bird
Hillary's work is modern and folksy all at once. I love the shapes and colors she uses. I love the fantastic stories she looks in on.

YeeVon is a designer & illustrator from Malaysia, living in Australia. I cannot help but be in love with her elegant and mysterious illustrations. The soft and romantic pallet, the lines of the hair.

I absolutely adore this New York (?) artist. Her profile says she is a Disney castmember, but her art looks as though she should be animating their classic films. I first discovered her illustrations on Deviant Art and I fell in love.. Brilliant work.


Life at Random

Some more snippets of pictures, with a little glitter added on.

Most of these aren't the main elements in any of the drawings I'm cutting them from, but they're lovely all the same, so I think they deserve their own close ups.

Aside from drawing, reading is what I do most, so whenever I need to draw someone doing something I want them to be reading, even though action-wise that's not all that interesting. I tried to give the girl a little more action by having her read outloud to her teddy-toting brother. She's reading from an edition of Mother Goose's nursery rhymes that I had as a kid. The little boy's jammies are one of the rare instances of patterned clothing in my art. I hate drawing patterns, but dots are hard to mess up.

Nothing special about the church, I just thought I would note that those wooden pews are terrible when it's hot and you have a dress with buttons down the back. They stick. And then every time you try to adjust how you're sitting everyone can hear them popping off the pew.

I clearly have an addiction to bangs and side-parts. I can't help myself.


Curly Girls

These were just little practice doodles for an illustration of the little girl with the little curl in the middle of her forehead. The one on the left is minorly based on a girl in an old cocoa advertisement  and the one on the right is somewhat based off Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

I just love the ruffled collar and apron on this girl. And her sweet face, which I can't really duplicate in my style of drawing.
 But I didn't want her to have just plain braids, I really wanted to emphasize the curly hair, so looked to Dorothy's style (from about the same era) for how to do those curls.


God Is Bigger Than You Think

Check out my flickr stream to see a bigger, better version of this.

This piece started out as a sketch during youth group, I often do fun things with the message titles and since we were talking about how huge the universe is I added this little girl with her telescope.
I never intended the background to be so grungy - but I just kept adding textures. Almost entirely from Bittbox though the stars are from JoannaStar on Deviant Art.

Hopefully I'll have this available as an 8x10 print in my etsy shop soon.

All Images are property of Melody DuVal, please do not use in any way without permission.


Leah Duncan Give Away

The Ardent Sparrow is doing a great giveaway of your choice or tea towel and print from Leah Duncan's cute, cute selection!
For my day job I do a lot of period illustrations (1930s-1940s mostly). I have (on loan) a battered primer from the 30s that I use to get an idea of the clothing and I also rely on  blogs dedicated to old advertisements and photos. Beauty Is A Thing of the Past has all kinds of great photos from hair dressers magazines that are fantastic in figuring out how to style hair. And Found In Mom's Basement is a terrific source of vintage advertising. I've learned a lot doing these illustrations.

I've also done a ton of Amish illustrations. If you're ever up in Shipshewana, IN you can look out for the Childhood Chuckles, Farmyard Funnies & Thoughts with Thelma book series. The first two are collections of stories sent in by (mostly) Amish people and the Thelma series is a series of stories by a local Amish wife and mother who lives on a diary farm.

All of this is great fun and I adore it. But sometimes you just want to draw something modern.